Despite lower budget, DTI beefs up MSME assistance

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    The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which is seeking a slightly lower of budget in 2021 is beefing up its assistance to micro, small and enterprises (MSMEs) for next year.

    In his presentation at yesterday’s deliberations of the House appropriations committee, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez proposed a P22-billion budget for next year from P23.3 billion this year.

    Of that amount P2.2 billion will go to MSMEs, lower than the P2.6 billion from this year.
    Lopez said the SB Corp. would continue to get the annual budget of P1.5 billion for lending to MSMEs.

    This is on top of the P10-billion to be provided under the Bayanihan to Recover as One waiting signing of President Duterte.

    But with about one million MSMEs, Lopez said “we are hitting a low number (of beneficiaries), we can only do so much based on our budget.”

    Lopez said from zero this year, the DTI’s Shared Service Facility (SSF) will get P500 million.

    Lopez noted the need for SB Corp to continue to receive budgetary allocation, citing the role the agency has played in providing lifeline to micro and small enterprises during the pandemic, with its P1 billion COVID Assistance to Restart Enterprises three times oversubscribed.

    He noted SB Corp. has also been registering a 95 percent repayment rate for its Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pagasenso that it was able to lend P6 billion from its total fund of P3.5 billion.

    Lopez admitted the P1.5-billion budget for microfinance is small and expressed hoped Bayanihan 2 will be enacted soon.

    “We see demand for microfinance will continue to surge next year because pandemic has a huge impact on MSMEs and more support is needed for microfinance,” Lopez said.

    The One Town, One Product will get P91 million in 2021, from P100 million this year.